Shoppers likely to be pausing after 2014 spree - London Report

BRITISH Retail Consortium (BRC) retail sales figures for February are likely to show shoppers took a pause after a spending spree in the fourth quarter of last year.

The figures, due out overnight tonight, are forecast to follow similar data from the Confederation of British Industry, which showed softer spending in February. The CBI data showed the number of retailers reporting higher year-on-year sales fell to a 15-month low of one per cent in February.

However, analysts believe the slowdown is only temporary, as prices remain low and employment high.

Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said: “The prospects for retail sales and consumer spending currently look bright given significantly improving real earnings growth, rising employment and elevated confidence. Furthermore, interest rates may well not rise until early-2016. Consumers’ purchasing power has improved markedly recently and it should continue to do so due to extremely low consumer price inflation and rising earnings growth, while employment seems set to keep on rising.”

Other economic data out this week includes manufacturing output, which is expected to show further growth after slowing in the final months of 2014.

Trade deficit figures for January are due on Thursday, with forecasts the deficit narrowed to £2.3bn in January after figures of £2.9bn in December and a relatively low £1.8bn in November.

The corporate calendar starts today with results from Abcam, Clarkson, Gemfields, Hansteen Holdings, HgCapital Trust and WPP.

Tomorrow Cairn Energy, Close Brothers, Craneware, Esure Group, G4S, Hill & Smith Holdings, Inchcape, John Menzies, Ocado,Prudential, SDL and Tyman will give figures.

On Wednesday Brooks Macdonald Group, Boohoo.com, Bwin.party digital, Centaur Media, FDM Group, Foxtons Group, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Michael Page International, N Brown Group and Servelec Group.

Thursday’s figures are due from Asos, Cineworld Group, Computacenter, Home Retail Group, LSL Property Group, SIG, Soco International, Stock Spirits Group, TT Electronics and Wm Morrison. JD Wetherspoon, Oxford Biomedica and SThree are due to report on Friday.